Putting the craft in Smith

WINNIPEG—Inn at
the Forks opened its completely revamped restaurant Smith on Sept. 13 in the
space previously occupied by The Current Restaurant and Lounge.

The Current Restaurant and Lounge.

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“The
restaurant is essentially a celebration of crafted food and the name Smith is a
nod to artisanal producers in Canada,” Ben Sparrow, Inn at the Forks general
manager, told CLN. “We could have
called the restaurant ‘Craftsmith,’ but we called it Smith for short.”

The Current Restaurant and Lounge.

Alex Svenne is
the new executive chef at Winnipeg’s Inn at The Forks, where he will be
responsible for all culinary operations including banquet and catering, room
service and a new casual fine dining restaurant.

Sparrow said
Svenne is very involved in the local food movement and an avid supporter of the
area’s producers.

“Alex’s food
style is simple, luxurious food and big flavours from local suppliers;
basically, food that makes you feel good,” said Sparrow.

Smith—which has 170 seats and another 100 seats
on a patio—is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as late night
dining. Live music will be offered every Friday and Saturday evening.

The dinner menu includes a bison flat iron with
a whisky glaze, homemade kubasa with sauerkraut, pan-fried pickerel with
scallions, ginger and lemon and roasted rack of lamb with jus and herbs de
provence.

“It is a celebration of honest crafted food
created from the diversity of the land and waters of Canada,” said Svenne in a
release. 

Bar manager Jason Colatruglio designed Smith’s
24-cocktail menu, which features house-made syrups, infusions, bitter and
sodas.

“We’re looking to really build on that and
we’re looking to really be the leading cocktail bar in the city,” said Sparrow.

The bar menu also includes more than 20 wines
available by the glass and a dozen Canadian craft beers on tap.

Sparrow estimated average check to be more than $50.

“We were looking to create a restaurant that was a fine dining
restaurant, but a restaurant which you felt very comfortable in,” Sparrow said.

Designed by Calgary-based McKinley Burkart, the décor of the
7,900-square-foot space features what Sparrow called “a mixture of highs and
lows, a mixture of modern items and retro accents; things that invoke a simple,
but luxurious interpretation of Canadian culture and Canadian artisanal food.”

Smith has hardwood floors throughout, a living room-style lounge
with leather and wool chairs, a mix of wood-top and marble-top tables, an
18-seat harvest table in front of the open kitchen, a private dining room with
a marble table seating 12, and a banquet running the length of the lounge
upholstered with the Hudson’s Bay Company stripes.

The
new restaurant represents an investment of about $2.5 million.

As
Svenne takes over operations at Smith, Barry Saunders moves to the executive
chef position of foodservice operations for Era Bistro & Catering at the
adjacent Canadian Museum for Human Rights, where he will oversee a 77-seat
restaurant with a 100-seat patio, which opens Sept. 27, and catering facilities
that can accommodate 400 seated or 1,000 reception guests. The
1,400-square-foot restaurant is dedicated to serving local foods and following
human rights principles, such as fair trade sourcing and sustainability.